Photos save precious memories. This is why parents take a lot of baby photos (and continue to take more as the child grows). Sadly, parents whose babies will never leave the hospital don’t usually have the opportunity to take a photo of a baby who passed away shortly after birth. There is an organization of volunteer photographers that will help families of stillborns by taking some photos of their baby.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep provides the gift of remembrance photography for parents suffering the loss of a baby. The photographers involved with this organization are there to share the parent’s pain, aid them in their healing, bring hope to their future, and to honor their precious baby. Portraiture is provided to the parents for free.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep was founded by Cheryl Haggard and Sandy Puc’ in April of 2015. This non-profit organization started after Mike and Cheryl Haggard experienced the loss of their baby, Maddux. The name of the organization came from the well-known children’s bedtime prayer.
Maddux was born with a condition called myotubular myopathy which prevented him from breathing and swallowing on his own. On his sixth day of life, parents Cheryl and Mike had to make the excruciating decision to take Maddux off of life support. Before doing so, they called photographer Sandy Puc’ to take black and white portraits of them cradling their son.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep has over 1,700 active photographers around the world. Their remembrance portraiture service is available for all parents who experience a newborn infant loss. Typically, this service is available for parents whose baby was at 25 weeks of gestation (or older). However, the organization does consult with doctors to determine if photographers would be able to capture professional images of babies that were less than 25 weeks of gestation.
It is important for parents to be aware of this organization so that they can contact them in time to have remembrance photos taken of their baby. All of the photographers are volunteers. It can take anywhere between two and twelve hours for a photographer to arrive at the hospital. It is recommended that parents who are able to give advance notice to do so. (For example, call before the baby is born, before scheduled removal of life support, or before a scheduled c-section).
Families will receive professional images and a license for their use. This allows parents to have those photos printed by a photo lab. The images will be professionally retouched and converted to either black and white or sepia tones in order to create an heirloom quality portrait. Parents can choose to view the photos immediately, or to store them away until they are ready to view them.
Image by Juan Carlos Pachón on Flickr.
Related Articles at Families.com: